Research

My research program has roughly four main tracks. First, I’m interested in how children’s literature plays a shaping role in adult-associated projects like psychology and philosophy. I’m now finishing a book on children’s literature, philosophy, and that strange thing we call theory, under contract with Fordham University Press and called Theory for Beginners, or Children’s Literature Otherwise. It’s a sequel of sorts to my second book Freud in Oz: At the Intersections of Psychoanalysis and Children’s Culture (University of Minnesota Press, 2011), about the mutualities of children’s literature and psychoanalysis.

A second interest is gender and sexuality in and around children’s literature. My first book Making American Boys: Boyology and the Feral Tale (University of Minnesota Press, 2004), explores literary and cultural programs of “boyology” in relation to stories of boys raised by various animals (what I call the “feral tale”), and I have also coedited two essay collections dealing with queer childhood and/or children’s literature: with Michelle Ann Abate, Over the Rainbow: Queer Children’s and Young Adult Literature (University of Michigan Press, 2011), and with Derritt Mason, the forthcoming Queer as Camp: Essays in Summer, Style, and Sexuality, also with Fordham UP.

I’m also curious about the literary capital and material circulation of children’s literature. I’ve published pieces on prizing, classics, archive studies, and anti-censorship work, and with Joseph T. Thomas, Jr. I coedited Prizing Children’s Literature: The Cultural Politics of Children’s Book Awards (Routledge, 2017).

Fourth and finally, I recently taught a course on Florida children’s literature, which rekindled my interest in environmentalism, both Florida-specific and more generally. I’m quite a novice here but with my amazing colleague UF English Sidney I. Dobrin I did coedit Wild Things: Children’s Culture and Ecocriticism (Wayne State University Press, 2004). I’m hoping to do more work on Florida children’s literature, looking not only at environmental l issues but also Florida’s complicated and vexing history of settler colonialism, indigenous exploitation, land development, and ongoing migration from both within and beyond U.S. national borders.